Originally published by SportsByte on March 18th 2014.
Tyne Tees Tigers face London side Putney Magpies this weekend in Sunderland as they launch a feeder side, the Wearside Wallabies.
The Aussie Rules club play and train in Newcastle and are looking to expand across the North East, with the Wallabies incorporating Sunderland, Washington, Chester-Le-Street and Durham.
The friendly is the second of the Tigers’ pre-season, after they were beaten 21.18 144 to 8.6 54 by Huddersfield Rams last month. The match will be played at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow.
The Magpies, founded in 2004, compete in the London Premiership and are clearly more experienced than the Tigers.
Ian Baxter, the president of the Tigers, said of the formation of the Wallabies: “One of the issues Aussie Rules across the country has faced is the ability to provide people with games without having to have a full team together.
“What we aim to do is have several smaller clubs providing players for the Tigers regional team so there would be the opportunity for Wallabies players to play competitive matches before the Wallabies have to field a full team on their own.
“This gives the Wearside Wallabies a chance to develop in their own time without the pressures of having to field a full side before it’s ready to.”
The Tigers currently hold Saturday training sessions for men and women at City Stadium in Newcastle, starting from 11am. They are keen, though, to increase the core number of players available to them which currently stands at around 30.
Wallabies training sessions will then take place in Sunderland and Durham on alternate weeks, starting from the March 25.
There are also plans for the Tigers to travel to Glasgow to play in the Haggis Cup in April, before the AFL Central & Northern England league season kicks off at the end of April.
A sport that is often misconstrued as being brutal and violent, Aussie Rules is merely a very physical but skill-orientated game. Many aspects of different sports – mainly football and rugby – can be seen in the game, with Gaelic and American Football also obvious comparison points.
Tyne Tees Tigers play Putney Magpies at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow on Saturday March 22. Kick off is 2pm.
More information on the Tigers can be found in the next issue of Spark Magazine and at http://www.tyneteestigers.co.uk/